As Lisbon entered the stadium filled with spectators, he felt his whole body tremble from all the shouting. Still, compared to the first round of the main draw, there was much less of a crowd, so he was able to recollect himself.
The martial arts competition was set up in a tournament style with a total of 32 competitors.
Alphonso regrettably was eliminated just before the main draw, but he still smiled brightly and waved his hands from the front of the stands. "Lisbon fighting!"
Lisbon also waved his hand, thinking that it would have been nice if Alphonso had also made it to the main draw. Yuria and Alice were with Alphonso as the magic school seemed to have started vacation since yesterday.
For a moment, Lisbon wondered why Den wasn’t there; then he realized that Den still had civil servant training. Lisbon was disappointed when he realized that Den probably didn’t get to see his matches, but he thought he should treat everyone with the prize money from being one of the final 16.
However, he didn't know that Den had gambled and bet on him, pocketing more money than the prize money for the martial arts championship. Luckily, Lisbon met someone who was even more nervous than he was in the first round of the main draw and was just barely able to win.
Now, Lisbon could be considered skilled as someone who proudly made it to the round of 16. As a man, he wanted to aim for a higher ranking, but Lisbon neatly surrendered in his mind when he saw his opponent. The opponent he met in the round of 16 was Rosellis, with who he had a brief conversation before the start of the main draw.
Rosellis was swinging a long ax shaft with a huge ax blade as if she was handling a spear. What was astonishing was that the action was not a threat but merely a warm-up.
He had thought, ‘No way, no way,’ but to think that it was actually Bloody Rosellis. He wondered why such a monster would even come to the martial arts competition. However, he decided to be satisfied as he could buy Alice a more expensive birthday present with the prize money from reaching the round of 16.
Rosellis giggled as she looked at Lisbon with a liberated expression. "Hey, you didn't give up, did you? That wouldn’t be fun.”
At Rosellis's fierce gaze, Lisbon began to cold sweat, and he laughed helplessly. "Haha, actually, I was thinking about withdrawing."
Lisbon drew his sword as he violently raised his martial aura. "How many opportunities will I have to be taught by an overwhelmingly strong person?"
Rosellis looked at Lisbon with an interested gaze when she felt his martial aura. "Good, Lisbon. That’s how it should be.”
“I will receive your lessons!”
At Rosellis's cry, Lisbon quickly narrowed the distance. Rosellis's giant ax was as powerful as it was big, but on the other hand, it was vulnerable to super-close combat.
"Where do you think you’re going!” Rosellis quickly swung her ax to stop Lisbon’s approach.
Looking at the ax being swung towards him, Lisbon lowered his body and tried to pass under the ax’s trajectory. However, the ax was so big that it produced a raging wind mixed with mana that forced Lisbon to retreat. The ax wind sat on a completely different scale from a sword wind; the wind's pressure was like a small typhoon.
Swallowing his saliva, Lisbon regained his posture while Rosellis posed with an ax in her hand, resembling a giant fortress. Lisbon couldn’t help but acknowledge her. The opponent was more powerful than anyone he had ever seen.
She was stronger than Molk, a veteran knight of the Black Water Buffalo Knights who he competed against in the entrance exam. Her platinum plate was definitely not won at a gambling house.
"You're not coming? Then I'll go!" Rosellis approached Lisbon so quickly that he couldn’t believe she was holding a giant ax.
Then she swung the ax down. Lisbon dodged sideways to avoid the ax being swung down on his head while simultaneously taking a step forward. The pressure generated by the ax being swung down behind him gave Lisbon’s back a push.
Lisbon took advantage of the pressure from the ax to successfully break into Rosellis's space in an instant, and he stabbed his sword at Rosellis's neck. It was not enough space for Lisbon to use his full strength either, but Rosellis’s ax was still stuck in the ground, and her situation seemed dangerous.
However, Rosellis easily moved the ax shaft to the side to deflect Lisbon’s stab.
Lisbon’s sword was blocked by Rosellis’s ax shaft, and it passed by her left cheek, but it could not leave a single injury. Rosellis kicked Lisbon before he could recover and attack her again.
"Keuok!" After receiving a powerful kick to the abdomen, Lisbon rolled on the floor as the sound of air could be heard escaping from his lungs.
After rolling on the floor for a moment, Lisbon immediately got up and regained his stance.
"Oh! You have some guts.” Rosellis smiled brightly. Judgment, boldness, talent. She looked favorably at him as he wasn’t missing a single aspect.
Most of all, she didn't hate a man with guts.
Although he was a talent that she wanted to try raising, Lisbon’s sword skills were based on traditional imperial swordsmanship. Since her style relied on power, it would rather hinder his future.
"How old are you?"
Lisbon replied to Rosellis with a pained breath, "I'm 20 years old."
"Mmm, you're not much different from me. This noona is 24 years old.” Rosellis was only four years older than Lisbon.
"No way!" Lisbon was shocked. He couldn’t understand how she could have this strength at such a young age.
He wondered if she was from one of the battle races, but from what Lisbon knew, there weren’t any battle races with red hair. Of course, she could have dyed her hair, and he was not certain that no one had red hair amongst the many tribes associated with the battle race Hunter Tribe.
However, he didn’t think that someone from the Hunter Tribe would confidently stand in the middle of the Empire’s territory, as they were a battle race allied with the Empire's enemies.
When Lisbon looked at Rosellis distrustfully, Rosellis frowned, "What's with that reaction? Are you saying I look older than that?”
Lisbon’s surprised reaction wasn’t caused by this, but it was not necessarily the wrong interpretation. Normally, Rosellis’s level was not something that could be achieved at such a young age.
"Ah, that’s not it!" Lisbon was startled by Rosellis, and he tried to correct the misunderstanding, but Rosellis's mood had already deteriorated.
"I don’t believe you." Rosellis pulled the ax lightly out of the ground and pointed it at Lisbon.
"You've regained your breath now, haven’t you? I’m going again."
The conversation was also in consideration of Lisbon, who had just received a hit to the abdomen. It was because she thought it would be a waste to finish off talent like him immediately.
This time, Rosellis also let out her martial aura like an explosion. Lisbon’s legs shook from the overwhelming martial aura, but he tightly clenched the sword handle.
Rosellis approached Lisbon at a light, moderate pace, but Lisbon couldn’t move away from his position. He could not move because he was fighting the fear that would make him run away without looking back if he took his foot off the ground.
"Ahhhhhh!" Lisbon screamed to overcome the terror, and he finally barely managed to take a step forward.
Rosellis was surprised when Lisbon took a step towards her. The martial aura she was currently emitting was not soft enough for someone of Lisbon’s level to be able to penetrate and advance through.
It was a level of martial aura that would even cause the posture of many veteran knights to crumble. Amid such martial aura, Lisbon was able to overcome the overwhelming fear and take a step closer.
"So you were a genius." Rosellis genuinely admired this display. In her opinion, it was not the technical skills of swordsmanship that distinguished a genius from a common person in battle. Instead, it was whether one could overcome fear and make it their own.
In many cases, a life and death situation in battle was determined by whether one could move a step. The step that Lisbon took was not just a step but an ideal improvement.
Rosellis swung her ax at the confidently approaching Lisbon, not holding anything back. A lack of sincerity now would be a disrespect for Lisbon, who overcame his fear.
"Haahp!" Lisbon let out a shout and swung his sword at the ax that was brought down towards him.
When Rosellis's ax and Lisbon's sword hit, a clear metal sound was heard, followed by Lisbon's sword breaking. It was a natural result.
The difference between Lisbon and Rosellis's ability was significant, but most of all, there was a difference in the materials used to make their weapons. Lisbon's sword was simply made of steel, while Rosellis's ax was made of an alloy mixed with mithril and adamantium.
When Lisbon’s broken blade spun in the air and then embedded itself into the ground, the referee shouted, "Winner! Rosellis!"
As the winner was decided, Rosellis immediately withdrew her martial aura, and Lisbon sat down as the strength drained from his legs.
"I have lost."
The crowd roared when Lisbon conceded defeat.
In terms of the match, there weren’t that many moves exchanged. It was a match that showed a wide gap in skills, but the crowd surrounding the stadium cheered and applauded.
Rosellis tried to avoid letting her martial aura get near the spectators as much as possible, but as she explosively emitted her martial aura, the spectators could also feel the tension. Also, the other knight school students, instructors, and active duty knights sitting as spectators were able to easily imagine the fear and pressure that Lisbon must have felt.
It was natural to give sincere applause to Lisbon for overcoming such fears.
Rosellis smiled cheerfully and reached her hand out to Lisbon, who was sitting on the floor. "You were cool, Dongsang!" (1)
Before Lisbon knew it, Rosellis was calling him dongsang, but he didn’t find it unpleasant. Rather, feeling that he had been acknowledged, he smiled refreshingly.
"Thank you, Noonim." (2)
Lisbon rose from the floor while holding Rosellis's hand. He forcibly put strength into his still trembling legs to greet the spectators.
Rosellis laughed loudly. "Of course!"
* * *
I generously applauded Lisbon's fight. In fact, I thought about using a little magic in the middle to help Lisbon out, but I quit because I didn't think it would help his growth.
Above all, it was also worrisome that the adventurer named Rosellis occasionally looked around instead of giving Lisbon her full attention. It was as if she was wary of something.
I ended up not helping Lisbon. I was afraid Rosellis discovered that he hadn’t escaped from her weakly emitted martial aura on his own before the preliminary rounds. Looking at the result, it was good that rather than just the prize money, Lisbon gained more valuable experience and growth.
Notes: 1) Donsang is a Korean word for a younger sibling. In Korea, just like unni, noona, oppa, hyung, people use these terms as the word for brother or sister or as a replacement for their names. In cases where they use it as a name or attached title, then I use the Korean word. But when it is used to describe a relationship, then I just use the English word “sister” or “brother.”
2) Noonim is noona + nim. More polite/formal way to address an older sister/woman.Previous Chapter Next Chapter